(To view video highlights from this match CLICK HERE).
The lone goal by Argentine forward Nicolas Hernandez was enough to give the Rapids their first win in their last four matches and for the club to take possession of third place in the Western Conference in addition to the Rocky Mountain Cup trophy which will now remain in Colorado for the next year until the tournament winner is decided next season.
For full details on the Rocky Mountain Cup which was created by the fans for the fans including the competition's rules photos calendar and more visit the official Rocky Mountain Cup website by CLICKING HERE.
The first half was a one-sided affair as Colorado took five shots on goal in the first half and Real took only one.
Thiago Martins had a productive first half up front for Colorado with 2 consecutive good efforts on goal his second coming in the 24th minute a great strike off his own rebound that was cleared off the line at the last second by RSL defender Jack Stewart.
The deadlock was broken in the 48th minute. Rapids defender Dan Gargan sent a high cross into the area that met Hernandez. The team’s leading goalscorer headed the ball past goalkeeper Scott Garlick beating him to his far post.
Goalkeeper Joe Cannon came up big for the visiting team in the 74th minute when he stopped Atiba Harris on a one-on-one play.
Just two minutes later Cannon smothered another blast this time from Joe Cunningham. The league's leading scorer fired from 10 yards but it was easily gathered by Cannon to maintain the 1-0 lead.
With the end of regulation approaching referrey Abbey Okulaja awarded an additional 7 minutes of stoppage time but the Rapids held on in gritty fashion to preserve the win and keep RSL away from any real scoring opportunities.
Alain Nkong missed a golden opportunity to put the Rapids up 2-0 as he was fed a pass at midfield and found himself wide open in the RSL end of the field with only Garlick to beat. Nkong opted to take a 45-yard shot at goal that had Garlick beat but went just wide of the open net.
If Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids did not feel any bad blood toward each other before Saturday's match at Rice-Eccles Stadium they certainly do now.
The game saw seven yellow cards many of which could have been red; there were dozens of questionable tackles and players got in each other's faces over and over again. In the end the Rapids earned a 1-0 victory and took home the Rocky Mountain Cup for the second consecutive year.
The Salt Lake fans exhibited less than respectable behavior on the night showering the Rapids players and coaches with objects from the stands througout the match. Real investor/operator Dave Checketts even got caught up in the heat of the moment as he scolded a celebrating Pablo Mastroeni as the Rapids exited the field and the two had some heated words.
The Rapids will next visit Kansas City this Saturday September 9th at 6:30 p.m. (MT) at Arrowhead Stadium before returning to their home turf at INVESCO Field on Wednesday September 13 at 7:30 p.m. to host the Chicago Fire.
Colorado Rapids (10-10-5) vs. Real Salt Lake (9-12-5)
September 02 2006 -- Rice-Eccles Stadium
Scoring Summary: COL -- Nicolas Hernandez 7 (Dan Gargan 1) 48
Colorado Rapids -- Joe Cannon Dan Gargan Aitor Karanka Pablo Mastroeni Hunter Freeman Jacob Peterson (Alain Nkong 65) Kyle Beckerman Colin Clark (Daniel Wasson 77) Clint Mathis (Chris Wingert 82) Nicolas Hernandez Thiago Martins.
Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Eric Denton Jovan Kirovski Fabrice Noel
Real Salt Lake -- Scott Garlick Kevin Novak Eddie Pope Jack Stewart (Chris Brown 93+) Willis Forko (Atiba Harris 61) Chris Klein Mehdi Ballouchy Carey Talley Andy Williams Jeff Cunningham Jafet Soto (Jamie Watson 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Nelson Akwari Kenny Cutler Jay Nolly
RSL -- Scott Garlick (caution; Game Disrepute) 50
COL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Pushing Holding) 62
COL -- Colin Clark (caution; Tackle from Behind) 66
RSL -- Eddie Pope (caution; Tackle from Behind) 70
COL -- Hunter Freeman (caution; Game Disrepute) 84
COL -- Dan Gargan (caution; Reckless Foul) 88
COL -- Thiago Martins (caution; Game Disrepute) 88
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Edouard Groguhe
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
time of game: 1:52
weather: Clear -and- 77 degrees